Today, after a month of preparing and winning the scout community's trust and support, I put into action the plan to gather information that will help me decide the direction in which to take my service. As I've mentioned before, every Peace Corps volunteer performs what is called a community diagnostic where he or she gains perspective as to the community's needs. The design of the diagnostic is entirely up to the volunteer and in smaller communities in the DR it can be a matter of visiting literally every home in the community and having an informal conversation with the inhabitants.
Mine, however, is not a small community. There are surely more than a thousand residents in the four barrios (neighborhoods) that are the focus of my service, and while it would be lovely to sit and chat with each and every one of them, that simply wouldn't be appropriate given the community's size and suburban culture. Instead, I've determined to use the scouts help me survey a sample of the greater whole. My principle tool in this endeavor is a survey.
I began drafting the survey during the week after I arrived and have been at odds to make it worthy and well-suited to its audience. It was important to me during the design phase that I involve stakeholders like Alvaro (the youth who accompanied my project partner, Pablo, when he came to pick up from Santo Domingo) and Aneudy (CIO at the local hospital and likely to be a key figure in keeping the Community Information Technology Training Center-CCI for short-in working condition after I am gone). I think their co-ownership of the process will be key to the CCI's success.